The Moss mine produces gold in northwest Arizona.

With a larger land package in Arizona’s Oatman district and more exploration drilling, the company hopes to increase gold production from the Moss mine

This year was a year of change for Elevation Gold Mining, which started the year as Northern Vertex before it officially changed its name in September. In February, Northern Vertex bought Eclipse Gold Mining Corp. and the Hercules Project, giving the company exposure to gold in Nevada, and later in the year, the company tripled its land package surrounding the Moss mine, located in Mohave County, Arizona. During November, Elevation Gold offered updated mineral reserve, mineral resource estimates and a technical report for the Moss mine.

Elevation Gold’s new management team believes the Moss mine and surrounding 168-km2 land package possesses unrealized gold exploration potential. Consequently, the company began an aggressive near-mine and regional exploration drilling program in March to deliver new resource ounces while beginning to demonstrate the potential of the property. Elevation has completed approximately 100 drill holes and continues to encounter significant mineralization, not all of which was included in the mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates presented in the latest technical report.

The technical report highlights proven and probable mineral reserves of 12.7 million metric tons (mt) with grades of 0.45 grams/mt gold and 5.4 g/mt silver containing 184,500  ounces (oz) of gold and 2.2 million oz of silver; measured and indicated mineral resources of 38.9 million mt with grades of 0.39 g/mt gold and 4.6 g/mt silver, containing 490,200 oz of gold and 5.75 million oz of silver; and inferred mineral resources of 6.6 million mt with grades of 0.35 g/t gold and 4.5 g/t silver, containing 73,800 oz gold and 940,000 oz silver. A Life of Mine (LoM) plan based on the proven and probable mineral reserve estimate extends the life of the Moss mine to 2025, mining ore at 11,000 t/d with an average strip ratio of 0.88:1.

“The Moss mine has been historically constrained by tenure and permitting that limited the mine’s footprint and production capacity,” Elevation Gold Chairman Douglas J. Hurst said. “It has also hindered the company’s ability to expand the resources and reserves. These constraints have now largely been removed, and the potential of the property is just beginning to be realized.”

“The updated reserve estimate and mine plan for the Moss mine is a foundational piece in the transformation of the company,” Elevation Gold President Michael G. Allen said. “Additional near-mine to regional exploration opportunities are being targeted and will be systematically drilled later this year and well into 2022.”

The current reserves are larger than the total ounces produced by the mine to date, Allen explained, demonstrating its ability to replace ounces through exploration. The proven and probable reserve estimate was constrained by the existing infrastructure of the mine. In the future, infrastructure may be relocated to allow the Moss mine to realize the full economic benefits of the additional near-mine mineralization being defined by the ongoing exploration drilling program.

During the third quarter of 2021, Elevation Gold mined more than 730,000 mt at the Moss mine compared to a little less than 707,000 mt in Q3 2020. The gold grade, however, dropped to 0.40 g/mt from 0.69 g/mt when compared to Q3 2020. The amount of gold produced during Q3 also dropped to 6,526 oz from 13,083 oz during the same period last year.

The Moss mine’s production in the third quarter was negatively impacted by a transition from the Phase 2 leach pad to the Phase 3 leach pad, Allen explained. That transition constrained the company’s ability to stack and leach crushed ore for 40 days during the quarter. In addition, grade was impacted as marginal ore was stacked as overliner, which is coarsely crushed and placed on top of the liner before ore is stacked. Low-grade ore is used for overliner as the coarser crush decreases recovery. Operations were normalizing and consequently, the management is expecting to report improved gold production figures for Q4 2021.

Tripling Oatman Land Package

During June, Elevation Gold significantly expanded its property holdings around the Moss mine from 47 km2 to almost 169 km2 through a combination of staking and land acquisition. It also obtained property-wide hyperspectral alteration mineral data. The property expansion was driven by the results of a detailed review of the regional geology, publicly available online mineral resources spatial data, and information in a comprehensive historical database compiled by the company, which highlighted the district-scale exploration potential surrounding the Moss mine.

The land package certainly establishes Elevation Gold as the dominant mineral rights holder in the Oatman District via staking. The Oatman District has historical production of more than 2 million oz of gold but has seen very little modern exploration. Establishing a large, highly prospective land package then systematically exploring it is a time-tested strategy, and it helps to have an established mine in the district supporting the effort.

“The presence of numerous historic mines, adits, workings, and showings in the broader Oatman Mining District and their apparent relationship to key regional to local geological structures, underlined the district-scale potential around the Moss mine and was the driver behind acquiring more land,” Northern Vertex Vice President of Exploration Warwick S. Board said. “A preliminary review of the hyperspectral alteration mineral data has already supported the decision to expand our land package, and it is being used to optimize our exploration plans.”

Mapping hydrothermal alteration minerals is a powerful tool for vectoring toward mineralization and mineral deposits. Alteration minerals have distinct electromagnetic spectral signatures that can be used to map out their spatial location and associations. Hyperspectral imaging collects and processes data from across the electromagnetic spectrum, allowing different alteration mineral signatures to be differentiated and mapped.

When Northern Vertex acquired Eclipse Gold in February, the company said it was creating a well-funded gold producer and consolidator, operating entirely in the western U.S. The move consolidated properties in the Walker Lane Trend, which runs parallel along the diagonal Nevada-California border into northern Arizona. It also brought two leadership teams together with a strong balance sheet.

Elevation Gold said it is executing a clear strategy that expands production and resources at the Moss mine in Arizona while aggressively exploring the Hercules Project in Nevada.